A poll, released today, shows Queenslanders love the Great Barrier Reef and believe the dying coal industry should be made to clean up its own mess, instead of leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.
The Essential Research poll of 1000 Queenslanders conducted in November found:
- Nearly sixty per cent believed that Australia needs to phase out coal mining because it drives global warming which is threatening the survival of the Great Barrier Reef.
- Four out of five believed mining companies should be required by law to pay rehabilitation bonds up front to fully cover the costs of rehabilitating former mine sites rather than expecting Australian taxpayers to pick up the bill.
- More than half believed Australia needs to restrict coal mining because of impacts on the environment, biodiversity, farmland, water.
- More than half believed as the coal industry declines, the negatives of the coal industry outweigh the positives.
Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and climate change spokesperson, said:
"Queenslanders understand the dying coal industry is driving dangerous global warming, which is already threatening the Great Barrier Reef with coral bleaching, acidification and extreme weather.
"Queenslanders understand coal's days are numbered and they're looking to the job-rich clean energy alternatives, which don't ruin our Great Barrier Reef, farmland or groundwater or climate.
"Instead of approving new coal mines, which are set to become stranded assets, the state and federal governments should be working together on a transition plan towards jobs in 21st century industries like renewable energy.
"As coal companies shut down mines, it's coal workers who are hit hardest, followed by state governments who are regularly left to foot the bill for cleaning up toxic mine sites.
"Coal mining has the potential to become the next James Hardie, leaving workers and governments in the lurch.
"The Greens' have released a plan to protect workers, state governments and the environment, and a plan for transitioning to 90% clean energy within 15 years.
"Under the Greens' plan, rehabilitation funds would be paid into a Federal Trust Fund for the companies to access at the conclusion of their operations.
"Adequately funding rehabilitation efforts will secure long term jobs in the same communities where coal workers are losing jobs," Senator Waters said.
The Greens’ plan to care for coal workers: http://larissa-waters.greensmps.org.au/sites/default/files/caring_for_coal_workers.pdf
The Greens’ plan to achieve 90 per cent renewable energy by 2030 http://renewaustralia.org.au/